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Ivybridge Community College

Ivybridge Community College

Sociology & Psychology ​​​​​​​

Sociology 

Head of Subject: Mrs Emily Israel

Sociology inspires and engages students here at Ivybridge through a challenging, broad, coherent and rigorous course of study.  Students will develop a critical understanding and explore and debate contemporary social issues so that they are able to challenge everyday understandings of social events from a sociological perspective.  The GCSE course develops students’ ability to think sociologically in relation to their experience of the social world around them, so that they are better able to play a positive, active and informed role within society.  The knowledge, understanding and skills developed through the study of Sociology will also provide a basis for further study at A Level or assist in more applied subjects such as Media Studies, Marketing, Journalism, Social Policy and Social Work.

Key Stage 4 

Sociology is only studied at GCSE and A Level.  The GCSE spans Year 9, 10 and 11 and throughout these three years students will:

  • apply their sociological knowledge, understanding and skills to develop an understanding of relationships and tension between social structures
  • critically analyse information and use evidence in order to make informed arguments, reach substantiated judgements and draw conclusions
  • use and apply their knowledge and understanding of how social structures and processes influence social control, power and inequality
  • use sociological theories to understand social issues, debates, social changes and continuities over time
  • understand and evaluate sociological methodology and a range of research methods
  • use sociological terminology appropriately and make connections between the key areas of subject content

More specifically, the following content will be covered:

The sociological approach - Students will investigate different debates and theories within sociology including conflict versus consensus, for example studying the work of Durkheim and Marx.  This will help build an understanding of how sociological knowledge and ideas can change over time, specifically focusing on core areas such as Family and Education.  Key elements of study for this content include: building a society, socialisation, norms, values, roles, labelling, discrimination, power and authority.

Families - Exploring the changing nature of families is integral to this section of the Sociology course.  Students will investigate differing views of the functions of families including Parsons’ functionalist perspective on primary socialisation, Marx’s view on the family as an ideological apparatus and Feminists point that the family is patriarchal.  Furthermore, students will look at explanations of how family forms differ in the UK and within a global context, for example nuclear, extended, reconstituted, lone parent, single sex families.  This will feed in to the understanding of conjugal role relationships and the domestic division of labour within families.

Education - Students will begin by exploring different sociological views of the role and functions of education, such as serving the needs of the economy, facilitating social mobility and fostering social cohesion.  A deeper look at success and achievement will then be covered by addressing factors affecting educational achievement, for example social class, gender and ethnicity.  Finally, addressing the Interactionist approach to education processes within schools affecting educational achievement such as streaming, labelling and the self-fulfilling prophecy will be highlighted.

Crime and Deviance Developing the concepts of crime and deviance and explanations of crime and deviance are essential for this topic, such as anomie, labelling, structural theories, subcultural theories and the interactionist theory. Students will also be able to use their own experience to discuss both formal and informal methods of social control and unwritten rules and sanctions in society. Additionally, factors affecting criminal and deviant behaviour including social class, gender, ethnicity and age will be discussed through debates.  

Social Stratification – Developing sociological knowledge from ‘the sociological approach’ topic, different views of the functionalist theory of stratification and Marx’s understanding of socio-economic class will be covered.  This will develop to explore the factors affecting life chances including social class, gender, race and ethnicity, sexuality, age, disability and religion.  This topic will also look at different interpretations of poverty and different forms of power and authority.

Sociological Research Methods – It is vital in Sociology that students have knowledge and understanding on how Sociologists conduct research and draw conclusions.  This will include exploring different research designs, the use of pilot studies, the selection of appropriate sampling methods and the analysis of data.  Students will also critically analyse the value, application, and strengths and weaknesses of different methods and the usefulness of the mixed methods approach.

Key Stage 5 

“The fascination of Sociology lies in the fact that its perspective makes us see in a new light the very world in which we have lived all our lives.” Peter Berger.

A Level Course Outline

This subject can be taken as a new subject or a continuation from GCSE.  Don’t worry if you’re new to it; the first year begins with an overview of the key perspectives such as Functionalism, Marxism, Feminism & Postmodernism.

In Sociology we look in considerably more depth at what it is that makes modern society tick, and therefore a genuine interest in contemporary social issues is required. Independent study and exploration of current issues are vital skills for success in this subject.  Sociology will help you to develop your skills of analysis, evaluation and critical thought.  You will learn to research, present and support your arguments in a measured and academic manner.

Higher Education and Career Opportunities

As far as Higher Education is concerned, Sociology leads naturally into a number of undergraduate courses including Psychology, Politics, Philosophy and Ethics and Humanities subjects such as History and Geography.  It can also assist in more applied subjects such as Media Studies, Marketing, Journalism, Social Policy and Social Work.

If you are considering a career in nursing or social work Sociology is regarded as a strong subject to give you background knowledge and understanding on society.  Other employers who look favourably on the subject are the police, the media, education services and the government.

Exam Board Information

Full details of the specification and assessment criteria can be found on the examination board website

Exam board - AQA

A Level (7192)

Course Content

This new specification for first examinations in 2016 makes this a linear course. Content covered in Year 1 will be developed and examined in Year 2 exams.  Therefore 100% of the qualification will be from marks achieved in the Year 2 exams, with each paper having a weighting of 33.3%.

Year 1

Paper 1- Education with Methods in Context

Paper 2 - Research Methods and Topics in Sociology (Families and Households)

Year 2

Paper 1: Education with Theory and Methods

Paper 2: Topics in Sociology (Families and Households and Beliefs in Society)

Paper 3: Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods

Psychology

Head of Subject: Mrs E Israel

“The mind is like an iceberg, it floats with one-seventh of its bulk above water.”

- Sigmund Freud

Psychology at Ivybridge is an extremely popular subject and for good reason ... we are all interested in people!  We spend much of our time thinking and talking about why people behave as they do.  This is an opportunity to gain a scientific insight into the human mind and behaviour.

Students will explore psychological approaches related to the core areas of psychology, for example cognitive, social, biological and developmental, as well as develop an insight in to the many research methods used by psychologists.

Higher Education and Career Opportunities

Students will learn the fundamentals of Psychology and develop skills valued by Higher Education and employers, including critical analysis, independent thinking and research. Psychology compliments many additional subjects at higher education such as Sociology, Teaching, Sports Studies, Nursing and Medicine.

Psychology is recognised by employers as a subject that develops a wide range of skills and understanding.  Career opportunities exist in:

  • Education
  • Health
  • Business
  • Government
  • Armed Forces
  • Law Enforcement
  • Prison Services

Exam Board Information

Full details of the specification and assessment criteria can be found on the examination board website

Exam board - AQA

A Level (7182)

Course Content

This new specification for first examinations in 2016 makes this a linear course.  Content covered in Year 1 will be developed and examined in Year 2.  Therefore 100% of the qualification will be from marks achieved in the Year 2 exams, with each paper having a weighting of 33.3%.

Year 1

Paper 1: Introductory topics in Psychology

  • Social influence
  • Memory
  • Attachment

Paper 2: Psychology in Context

  • Approaches in Psychology
  • Psychopathology
  • Research methods

Year 2

Paper 1: Introductory topics in Psychology

  • Social influence
  • Memory
  • Attachment
  • Psychopathology

Paper 2: Psychology in Context

  • Approaches in Psychology
  • Biopsychology
  • Research methods

Paper 3: Issues and options in Psychology

  • Issues and debates in Psychology
  • Relationships
  • Schizophrenia
  • Addiction